Brunei: Country and Foreign Investment
Brunei is a constitutional sultanate. The Sultan and Prime Minister is Sir Hassnal Bolkiah (since 5 October 1967). In August 1998, Oxford-educated Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah was inaugurated as heir to the Sultan.
There is a Council of Cabinet Ministers which is appointed and presided over by the monarch.
Civil law is based on English common law; for Muslims, Islamic Shari'a law supersedes civil law in a number of areas. There is a Supreme Court (the chief justice and judges are sworn in by the monarch for three-year terms).
All members of the (Brunei) Court of Appeal are distinguished Commonwealth Judges. Final civil appeals are (by consent) to the Privy Council in London.
The Legislative Council met on 25 September 2004 for first time in 20 years with 21 members appointed by the Sultan; it passed constitutional amendments calling for a 45-seat council with 15 elected members. The Sultan dissolved council on 1 September 2005 and appointed a new council with 29 members as of 2 September 2005. In June 2011 the number of members in the council was increased to 33. The council meets annually.